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The Evolution of Wi-Fi Standards

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[New Mexico State - Forbes]


- The History of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a popular wireless networking technology. Wi-Fi stands for “wireless fidelity”. Unlicensed spectrum, where Wi-Fi® operates, is one of society’s most valuable resources. The Wi-Fi industry’s innovation, promotion, and good stewardship of unlicensed spectrum has delivered significant benefits to users and driven immense economic value worldwide.

The Wi-Fi was invented by NCR corporation/AT&T in Netherlands in 1991. By using this technology we can exchange the information between two or more devices. Wi-Fi has been developed for mobile computing devices, such has laptops, but it is now extensively using for mobile applications and consumer electronics like televisions, DVD players and digital cameras. 

There should be two possibilities in communicating with the Wi-Fi connection that may be through access point to the client connection or client to client connection. Wi-Fi is a one type of wireless technology. It is commonly called as wireless LAN (local area network). Wi-Fi allows local area networks to operate without cable and wiring. It is making popular choice for home and business networks. A computer’s wireless adaptor transfers the data into a radio signal and transfers the data into antenna for users.  


- Wi-Fi Spectrum May Soon Be Overloaded

Wi-Fi platform vendors have long been citing the lack of enough spectrum in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands as true gigabit wireless becomes commonplace. Wi-Fi devices essentially use unlicensed spectrum for communication. As more and more gigabit wireless devices get deployed, the available spectrum capacity in the 5 GHz band may soon get exhausted.

Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing new terminology to distinguish Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world. The FCC has already approved the opening up of the 6 GHz band (essentially, the 1.2 GHz unlicensed spectrum span just above the currently used 5 GHz band) for unlicensed operation in 2020. Wideband unlicensed channels of 160 MHz and more may become essential to achieve expected performance from 802.11ax, 802.11be, 4G LTE, and 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum. 

Opening up a continuous 1200 MHz chunk will enable substantial amount of new bandwidth over multiple wide bandwidth channels. Unfortunately, even though there are no currently unlicensed users of the 6 GHz band, certain fixed wireless point-to-point long-range deployments are licensed to utilize it.


- Difference Between Wireless LAN and Wi-Fi

While wireless LANs (WLANs) refer to any local area network (LAN) that a mobile user can connect to through a wireless (radio) connection; Wi-Fi (short for “wireless fidelity”) is a term for certain types of WLANs that use specifications in the 802.11 wireless protocol family. 

Technically, WLAN means any wireless local area network no matter what technology is used and Wi-Fi is a type of WLAN that follows the IEEE 802.11 standards which most WLANs in use today do, that’s why they are commonly used interchangeably. Wi-Fi as a name for the standard is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.



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